Mini Guide: Utrechtsestraat
Ever since I arrived in Amsterdam back in August, friends have messaged me asking for my top tips on what to do/see in this incredible city.
As the months have gone past, I've been able to suggest more and more ideas, many of which don't always appear in your typical travel guide. Fast forward to now, after 8 months of living here, I feel I know Amsterdam pretty well. I certainly know where to go to avoid the crowds of tourists.
And that got me thinking. Why don't I write some mini guides about my favourite places in Amsterdam? A little like how in the EasyJet magazine they take you down one specific street. That way you guys get the inside scoop, and I don't have to write out essay-length texts!
To kick things off, here is my mini guide to Utrechtsestraat.
I'm sure most people have heard of Rembrandtplein - a square which tourists flock to and locals avoid like the plague (myself included). But Utrechtsestraat, which leads off of Rembrandtplein, usually flies under the radar. It's very much a street marketed at Amsterdammers rather than tourists, and that is one of the reasons I love it so much.
Another reason why I love it, is simply that I know it the best. My Dad's flat is just around the corner, and ever since he moved out to the Netherlands almost 2 years ago, it's been where we've gone out as a family to shop, eat and drink!
For this mini-guide, I'm going to start at the top of Utrechsestraat, by Rembrandtplein, and work my way down to the end of it at Frederiksplein.
Rucksacks. Rucksacks. Rucksacks.
That’s the basic premise of this painfully hipster shop, and they certainly know how to make great ones.
Everything about this place from its motivational window quotes, jungle-like interior, and beautiful hand-crafted goods make you want to pack up a rucksack and head out on an adventure.
Your wallet probably won’t thank you for shopping here, but sometimes it’s healthy to splurge!
There’s something about cycling with a bunch of flowers that’s just so effortlessly Dutch.
I’ve never been one to buy myself flowers, but that’s something that’s changed since living in Amsterdam. So now when I’m in the mood for a floral treat I head to this colourful stall. I usually stick to tulips but they’ve got loads of beautiful flower varieties.
In Amsterdam for Christmas? Then this is the place to get your tree!
This quadruple fronted burgundy shop is a homage to all things vinyl.
It's an Aladdin's cave of records, from the newly released to the second-hand and well-loved classics.
Its also a Tardis. Despite its large appearance from the street, it's even larger on the inside. The shop isn't on one level. Instead its a jumble of floors at different levels, with random sets of stairs and two large basement spaces.
In other words, it's the perfect place to explore on a rainy day. There's even a cafe, so you don't actually ever have to leave!
It may not look like much from the outside, but Ku is one of the best Japanese restaurants in town.
The food is fab, and with a glass-enclosed kitchen at the back, you can watch your order getting prepared.
Not only does it do great sushi, but they also know how to mix up a mean cocktail. So you can sip on a Espresso Martini whilst you wait for your freshly prepared California rolls. Sounds like the perfect night to me!
It’s small so you might want to book in advance.
Café de Huyschkaemer
Or as Lottie and I like to call it, "our bar". Somewhat accidentally this bar has become my local - despite being a 20min cycle from my student digs! I have some great memories of evenings spent here, and now the weather is better you can finally sit out on the benches and people watch without the danger of catching hypothermia.
The drinks won’t break the bank and it has a local feel without being as intimidating as some of the traditional Brown Bars.
They also have a large TV so if you want to catch a key football match then it’s got you covered. Unsurprisingly on days when the Netherlands are playing, it’s packed.
Anna & Nina
Okay so it’s not actually on Utrechtsestraat (it's on Reguliersgracht) but it’s pretty damn close - just follow the side street opposite “our bar” until you reach a canal.
Anna & Nina started as an agency promoting jewellery and accessories but has since become a brand in its own right.
They have 3 stores in Amsterdam, but I think this one is the most special. It's an Atelier, so as well as being able to buy pieces from their collection, you can also get something unique designed or have a pre-owned piece adjusted / re-shaped.
The perfect place to pick out something special.
So there you have it, my guide to Utrechtsestraat.
Keep your eyes peeled for the next mini-guide, and let me know if there's a particular street/area you want to me write about.